President Trump to Make Choice on SCOTUS Nominee on July 9

Richard Lazarus

President Donald Trump made important announcements Friday about his upcoming nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Liberals compared that ruling to the 2010 decision that let corporations spend unlimited amounts on elections and the 2013 ruling that struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act as actions that could fundamentally change how campaigns are waged and votes are cast. Trump says as many as seven candidates may be interviewed. On Friday, Trump reassured reporters that he would discuss U.S. interests in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and would certainly raise the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The pick could further shift the court to the right and solidify its conservative bent for years or even decades.

Though Trump, who has little fixed ideology, has been an unpredictable and at times frustrating governing partner for the Republican leadership, he has largely adhered to GOP orthodoxy when it comes to judicial appointments, including his selection of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court a year ago.

But Republican Senator John McCain, who has an aggressive form of brain cancer, has been absent from the Senate for months, meaning that if all Senate Democrats vote against Trump's eventual nominee, it would take only one Republican defection to defeat his pick.

"We have to pick a great one. If he wanted the voters to weigh in on the Supreme Court in 2016, he should allow the voters to weigh in on the Supreme Court in 2018".

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Prominent on the list of possible successors are Judges Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who was seriously considered for the seat eventually filled by Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh, who serves on the federal appeals court in Washington and is a former Kennedy law clerk. "It is a group of highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges".

"That's not a question I'll be asking them", he said.

The 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide won't be overturned automatically, nor without a fight.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said people should assume everyone on Trump's list oppose Roe v. Wade and thus should be a "nonstarter" with senators who support reproductive rights. "And that will happen automatically in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court".

The Center for Reproductive Rights points out that in recent years, the Supreme Court has declined to review a number of lower court decisions striking down abortion bans prior to the point of viability.

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The Senate is bracing for Trump to announce a quick nominee as soon as July 10.

President Trump initially bashed Heitkamp at a rally in North Dakota this week in which he urged voters to support her GOP opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer. And the president, in the moments after Kennedy's retirement was announced, made clear that he understood the opportunity to shape the court for generations.

The Times article describes an unusually close relationship between Anthony Kennedy and Trump and a "quiet campaign" from the White House to encourage Kennedy to retire. On Wednesday, he joined his fellow conservatives in a ruling that dealt a major setback to organized labor by shutting off a key union revenue source.

In an interview with NPR, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins called the retirement of the court's swing vote "a day that we've been waiting for".

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